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A Sunday afternoon cracker to complete round fifteen as St Helens made the short trip to Salford looking for the win to return to joint top of the table as they took on a Red Devils side who needed the win to reduce the points gap between themselves and the top sides.

Paul Rowley’s side were initially unchanged with Ryan Brierley still out with a rib injury but a warm injury for Tim Lafai saw Loghan Lewis brought into the starting line-up, while Paul Wellens made just one change as he brought in Bennison for Makinson who is out with a medium-term foot injury.

Saints were the favourites for the win with the bookies handicapping them by eight points on the coupon but this was a game billed as the best fixture of the weekend as Salford looked to complete a 2024 double over their visitors.

Saints were first to trouble the scorers when James Bell chased a Jack Welsby kick to ground under the sticks and when Mark Percival added the extras it was a 6-0 lead for the visitors.

Salford were in for their own opener on seventeen minutes with fast hands in a switch move which saw Deon Cross finding a glimmer of space to cross in the corner. Marc Sneyd added the touchline conversion to level the scores.

On twenty-five Sneyd deliberately missed a penalty attempt with Chris Atkin catching the ball down the right wing and scoring only for the try to be wiped out by the referee. A waste of two points as he tried to hoodwink the referee.

On thirty-one the Red Devils did hit the front, Cross collecting a pin-point accurate kick to the corner to take one step and ground. Sneyd was wide of the target, but his side were good value for their four-point lead.

On fifty-two the Saints were back on level terms when a bandaged Curtis Sironen hit a Lewis Dodd ball at speed and crashed over from ten metres out. Percival hit the mark with the conversion attempt for a 12-10 lead.

Three minutes before the hour mark and the lead swung back to Salford after a Sneyd kick to the corner which was taped back by Nene Macdonald into the hands of Kallum Watkins to avoid the accidental tackle of one of his team mates to score in the corner. Sneyd was wide with his conversion, Salford with a two-point lead.

Marc Sneyd tackled a Saints man without the ball on sixty-two, Percival kicking a forty-metre penalty goal to again see the sides level, this time at 14-14.

On sixty-eight Saints were back in the lead when Percival took an outside pass after a Sironen break to bounce over the line for a crucial try. Percival couldn’t add the conversion, the sides separated by four points with ten minutes remaining.

A sensational move from Salford, started deep in their own half, saw Chris Hankinson sprint down the right wing after breaks from Watkins and Macdonald. He improved the angle a little in the act of scoring and Sneyd added the extras for a 20-18 lead to Salford with four minutes left on the clock.

It was a tenacious performance from the home side as Salford recorded their first double over St Helens since 1980. All things coincided for the win with some top draw passing and defensive work against a St Helens side who didn’t, or weren’t allowed, to hit their straps. Salford outscored Saints by four tries to three and had it not been for a poor afternoon with the boot for Sneyd, by his own high standards, then the winning margin would have been far greater. Salford now knocking on the door of the top positions.

Salford Red Devils: Hankinson (T), Ryan, Macdonald, Lewis, Cross (2T), Atkin, Sneyd (2/5 G), Singleton, Mellor, Wright, Stone, Watkins (T), Partington. Subs: Vuniyayawa, Shorrocks, Dudson, Connell. 18th Man:

St Helens: Welsby, Bennison, Hurrell, Percival (T, 4/4 G), Blake, Mbye, Dodd, Delaney, Clark, Lees, Sironen (T), Mata’utia, Bell (T).  Subs: Paasi, Royle, Davies, Stephens. 18th Man: Vaughan.

Half-Time: 10-6.

Full-Time: 20-18.

Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 4-6, 6-6, 10-6 :HT: 10-10, 10-12, 14-12, 14-14, 14-18, 18-18, 20-18 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: St Helens – Square – Salford – Square – Salford – Square – St Helens – Square - Salford.

Referee: Jack Smith.  

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 23rd Jun 2024 4:51 PM | Views : 3329 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES